In Memoriam Vaclav Havel

In Memoriam Vaclav Havel


De Tsjechische schrijver, politicus en voormalige president van Tsjechië Vaclav Havel is overleden aan complicaties bij zijn langdurige ziekbed. Hij is 75 jaar geworden. Havel was van oorsprong (toneel)schrijver. Tijdens het communistische regime in Tsjecho-Slowakije was hij een van de belangrijkste dissidenten. Zie ook alle tags voor Václav Havel op dit blog.


Uit: To the Castle and Back (Vertaald door Paul Wilson)

„The days I spent there were important in my life. The hippie movement was at its height. There were be-ins in Central Park. People were festooned with beads. It was the time of the musical Hair. (Joe had presented it in the Public Theater before my play opened, and because it was so successful it moved to Broadway, where I saw the premiere.) It was the time when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed, a period of huge antiwar demonstrations whose inner ethos–powerful but in no way fanatical–I admired; it was also the heyday of psychedelic art. I brought many posters home, and to this day they are hanging in Hradecek. And I brought home the first record of Lou Reed with the Velvet Underground.
My stay in the United States influenced me considerably. After I returned, my friends and I experienced a very joyful, albeit a somewhat nervous, summer, which could not have ended well; on August 21, the Soviet troops arrived. And then, seeing long-haired, bead-festooned young people waving the Czechoslovak flag in front of the Soviet tanks and singing a song that was a favorite among the hippies at the time, “Massachusetts,” I had a truly strange sensation. In those circumstances it sounded a bit different from how it had sounded in Central Park, though it had essentially the same ethos: the longing for a free and colorful and poetic world without violence.
The second time I visited America–after a long and gloomy twenty-two years–I was president of my country. The former hippies were now no doubt respected senators or bosses of multinational corporations. Since then I’ve been here at least ten times; I’ve become close to three American presidents and to many American politicians (a special role among them was played by my compatriot the marvelous Madeleine Albright), as well as to important people and to many famous stars. These working or state or official visits, however, were brief and the program was always full, so that I only saw America from a speeding limousine. I sometimes found time to go for a walk or visit a rock club, but it was never easy. And so now, here I am on my second long visit almost forty years after the first one. In the meantime, I’ve lived through quite a bit, and perhaps precisely for that reason–paradoxically–I long for the freedom of movement I once enjoyed here when I was in my thirties.“


Václav Havel (5 oktober 1936 – 18 december 2011)